Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine, The Ecstatic, and Slapboxing with Jesus (and, full disclosure, a guy who blurbed one of my books), on his early-20s period of obesity, depression, and phone sex: “Have you ever known men or women who don’t get any kind of loving for years? They get weird. The women become either monstrously drab or they costume themselves in ways that make them seem unreal; they externalise their inner fantasies and come to believe that – on some level – they really are elves or princesses or, most disturbing of all, children again. And the men? They’re even worse. Men who are denied affection for too long devolve into some kind of rage-filled hominoid. Their anger becomes palpable. You can almost feel the wrath emanating from their pores. Lonely women destroy themselves; lonely men threaten the world.”
From Susan Howe’s Souls of the Labadie Tract:
Longing and envy rest
after a little—garden under
trees but better still likely
to be still more anxious to
get to just daylight all I’ve
always pushed back
That’s the “Labadie Poplar”
little is otherwise known
Our secret and resolute woe
Carolled to our last adieu
Our message was electric
Will you forget when I forget
that we are come to that
In the copy of the book I got out of the library, the following changes and updates have been made to these two pages: READ MORE >
Earlier this morning, probably around 6am or so, I was writing, not an unusual thing. I wrote the phrase “curry favor.” Then, I thought: Maybe it wasn’t curry favor but curry flavor, or maybe it was carry favor, though I was pretty sure my original word choice was right.
So rather than continue writing, which is what I should’ve done, I went to Google…
Many people believe that “to curry favor” originated from the mishearing of curry flavor, which was my error as well. It is in fact based on a mishearing, though not “favor” for “flavor” but “favor” for “favel.”
“But while Lish’s work can always be likened to self-pleasure, self-pleasure—mine and yours—cannot always be likened to Lish’s work. It is in this way—in its personal, private aspect—that his inky spatter is truly seminal. The first person, the ascendant voice of the past two centuries—from Dostoyevsky’s underground origins to Beckett’s authorial endgame—is today the shrillest voice of daily expression: the online overshare, the chat-window confessional. What once was literature—revelatory direct address—has become blogorrhea: the timestamped account of what happened this morning, of what our peeves and attractions are, of what we do to ourselves and one another by night. Lish was former laureate of that plaint, of its degrees of self-knowledge, its valences of tone. If Lish’s soliloquies have any counsel for today’s solipsistic culture it’s this: Every “I” will always be a fiction; every first person is the last person you were.” — Josh Cohen, from his Bookforum review of Lish’s Collected Fictions
A record I’m actually excited about for once: Salem’s King Night.
What are you excited about?
“Whose arm is this?” She said, “That’s my mother’s arm.” Again, typical, right? And I said, “Well, if that’s your mother’s arm, where’s your mother?” And she looks around, completely perplexed, and she said, “Well, she’s hiding under the table.”
– Errol Morris on anosognosia and much much more, in five parts. Starts here.
[a guest heads-up for the NY set]